Toppin scores 35, Knicks rout Wizards 114-92

WASHINGTON (AP) — Obi Toppin scored a career-high 35 points, and the New York Knicks beat the Washington Wizards 114-92 on Friday night.

RJ Barrett scored 14 points for the Knicks before leaving the game with a sprained right knee. His early departure came on a night when several key players from both teams did not play at all. Both teams are eliminated from playoff contention. New York (36-45) moved up a game ahead of Washington (35-46) for 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks allowed the first 10 points of the game and shot just 2-for-9 from 3-point range in the first quarter, but dominated after that. New York was 14-for-30 from long range the rest of the way.

“We started out, we were lethargic,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s a long game, we just wanted to stop the bleeding and get going. I thought we got out of that and got our energy going.”

The Knicks took control when they outscored Washington 36-19 in the second quarter to lead 59-50 at halftime.

“We’ve had a problem three of the last four games, defending the 3-point line,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “We just haven’t had an urge to get to the shooters.”

New York scored the last six points of the first half on a dunk and then a four point play by Toppin. Then the Knicks scored the first 13 of the third quarter. Toppin capped the streak with two more triples to make it 72-50.

“Before, I was thinking about staying out of trouble. I feel like right now, I’m thinking about shooting first, then going back, dribbling with the guys,” Toppin said. “I’m just playing with a different kind of confidence now.”

Rui Hachimura led the Wizards with 21 points. Immanuel Quickley had 23 points and 10 assists for New York.

DID NOT PLAY

New York Knicks center Taj Gibson bites his jersey during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, April 8, 2022, in Washington.

The Wizards have been without Bradley Beal (left wrist) for more than two months, and Kyle Kuzma (right knee) was out for the 12th straight game. Kristaps Porzingis (right knee) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (rest) also did not play.

“I hope to see us at least trying to get to our spots and run the offense properly,” Unseld said. “I didn’t feel like it, but again, I’m not going to blame the guys for not being comfortable playing different positions.”

Unseld said Kuzma, Porzingis and Caldwell-Pope will also miss the team’s final in Charlotte.

New York was without Julius Randle (right quadriceps tendon) for the fourth straight game. The Knicks have also been without Nerlens Noel (left foot), Cam Reddish (right shoulder), Derrick Rose (right ankle) and Kemba Walker. Quentin Grimes (right knee) and Mitchell Robinson (non-COVID-related illness) each missed a second straight game.

TIPS

Knicks: Toppin’s previous career high was 20 points.

Wizards: Washington was crushed despite shooting 51% from the field. The Wizards had 22 turnovers, leading to 33 New York points. … This was the end at home for Washington. The Wizards went 21-20 at home this season.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Knicks: They host Toronto on Sunday night.

Wizards: At Charlotte on Sunday.

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Follow Noah Trister on https://twitter.com/noahtrister

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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